Serious Crime Act (255_16)

Request

The Serious Crime Act 2015 received Royal Assent on 3 March 2015 and coercive control became a criminal offence as of 29 December 2015.

This request is being made to all 43 police forces to ascertain the progress in raising awareness of the new law and any relevant training.

Please provide the following information:-

a) Has any formal training been provided by the force and if so when did this commence?

b) Was the training package prepared internally, or in partnership with an outside organisation?

b) Who is receiving the training e.g. all officers and police staff or specialist units dealing with domestic abuse.

c) What form does the training take e.g. classroom training/computer based training etc?

d) Please provide a copy of the training material.

e) If a training package prepared by the college of policing is being utilised, on what date did the force receive the training package.

Response

Every police force is working hard to increase the confidence of victims to report domestic abuse and we have seen a substantial increase in reporting nationally with greater understanding of all forms of abuse, not just physical violence. The new domestic abuse offence of Controlling and Coercive Behaviour within the Serious Crime Act is another tool to help the police service and CPS prosecute perpetrators of domestic abuse and protect victims. It will provide more opportunities to evidence other forms of domestic abuse, beyond physical violence. Not only will this encourage more victims to report we hope, but also the concerned family and friends of victims.

(a) Has any formal training been provided by the force and if so when did this commence?

A training package was created by the College of Policing (CoP) in November 2015 from which West Midlands Police created a Power point presentation and briefing note for officers to self-brief or use the materials as team training. This material also included a video again created by College of Policing. We also used internal marketing to inform staff of the enactment of the legislation and signpost the training materials.

West Midlands Police is now using the CoP training material to deliver face to face training. This commenced on 19th January 2016 and will continue through until May 2016 where it is envisaged all front line staff and Domestic Abuse specialist officers will be trained in the new legislation of Coercive Control. The training delivery also includes an input from the National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV).

b) Was the training package prepared internally, or in partnership with an outside organisation?

The package was developed externally by the College of Policing who developed it in partnership with a number of voluntary and charitable organisations.

b) Who is receiving the training e.g. all officers and police staff

As above (a)

c) What form does the training take e.g. classroom training/computer based training etc?

As above

d) Please provide a copy of the training material.

The information is exempt by virtue of the following exemption

Section 40 (2)

Section 40 (2) is an absolute and class based exemption if to release the information exists would breach the third party’s data protection rights. In this case to release this personal information would not constitute fair processing of the data and therefore would breach the first of the principles within the Data Protection Act 1998. As this exemption is class based I am not required to identify the harm in disclosure and in this instance I believe that the right to privacy outweighs any public interest in release.
e) If a training package prepared by the college of policing is being utilised, on what date did the force receive the training package.

18 November 2015

As recommended as good practice by the Information Commissioner’s Office a version of this response may be published on the West Midlands Police website.

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